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Simple Muting Question

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by AccolaStudios, Jul 27, 2012.

  1. AccolaStudios


    Nov 24, 2011
    This must seem little a total novice question. I'm working on learning scales, and for those that involve dropping to lower strings (ex. Eb Major on the 2nd string, 1st fret) I'm having trouble muting open strings. For example, in the scale mentioned above, I can move Eb F G Ab Bb C D Eb no problem. The problem occurs when I go in reverse. Starting on the 3rd string, 6th fret I'll go Eb D C Bb Ab G - this is where the problem occurs. When I go from the open G to F, I have trouble keeping the open G from ringing out. This occurs with other similar scales as well.

    So...should I be using right or left hand techniques to mute that G when I'm done?
  2. Gaius46


    Dec 15, 2010
    Short answer is both are fine and to use whichever works best for you and the given situation.

    I tend to mute opens with the right when moving up strings. Going from open D to any note on the G string just following through with the plucking finger and stopping it on D string feels most natural to me.

    In the other direction I tend to really favor using a unused left hand finger to mute the open, especially if I'm going to need that finger to stop a note on that string next.

    For example if playing a D# major arpeggio starting on the third G, I'd play the open G. Fret the D# with my i finger while muting the G with my pinky where the 3rd note of the arpeggio - A# is - and then play the A#.

    I'll sometimes mute with my right hand in this situation but using the left hand again seems more natural to me.
  3. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006
    Check out the "Floating Thumb" technique.

  4. t77mackie


    Jun 13, 2012
    Wormtown, MA
    Instead of playing the whole scale, just concentrate on the offending two or three notes until the muting becomes natural.

    Some guys like to put a hair tie thingy right above their nut (that sounds dirty). Kinda cheating, kinda not - Good esp. for 2 hand tapping stuff - if you're into that kind of thing.

    Good luck.
  5. AccolaStudios


    Nov 24, 2011
    I haven't heard of using the hair tie. Is it above as in the first fret, or as in the the tuning pegs? And what exactly does it do?
  6. PlungerModerno


    Apr 12, 2012

    If you practice slow with relaxed hands (do some stretches) you should be able to find the 'weaknesses' or times when you're leaving a string ringing out longer than strictly allowed. adapt by muting with left or right hand. If it ever seems quite awkward, try the other hand. I'm no expert but the floating thumb is a great way to start, and it keeps the plucking hand relaxed.
  7. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    At your stage of the game, learn to do your muting the hard way and don't use a hair tie. You'll end up married to that hair tie, and when you play a bass that doesn't have one, you're going to have the same problem. Victor Wooten doesn't need that hair tie. He just uses it so he can think about other stuff besides muting when he's flying all over the place.
  8. dbd1963


    May 18, 2010
    Northern Virginia
    I still can't mute for crap with a pick, but floating thumb has done wonders for my fingerstyle. It was pretty easy to learn, also.
  9. Jay2U

    Jay2U Not as bad as he lóòks

    Dec 7, 2010
    22 ft below sea level
    Muting is very important. Finger style playing makes muting relatively easy, as the floating thumb technique can be used in most cases. Picking makes it more difficult. The palm of the picking hand and the fingers of the fretting hand are involved.
    It can't be stressed enough: learn to mute, both picking and fingering. Practise it until it becomes second nature. Once you master muting techniques, you can concentrate on optimizing your playing technique.

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